Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

LDF, UDF hopeful in Neyyattinkara, cautious too

The Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency has kept swinging between parties, without any overwhelming favourite, for the past six decades or so. The upcoming elections will be closely watched to see if the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) rivalry throws up a tight contest here, even as the increased presence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) heightens expectations of a three-cornered fight.

Few can forget the dramatic events that unfolded here in the early years of the past decade when MLA R. Selvaraj of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) resigned in March 2012, sending shock waves through the political establishment.

Mr. Selvaraj, Parassala MLA, wanted to contest from there itself in the 2011 Assembly polls, but was shifted to Neyyattinkara against his wish. He defeated by a comfortable margin of 6,702 votes Congress strongman Thampanoor Ravi, who had won from here three consecutive times in 1991, 1996, and 2001.

The controversy

However, following turmoil within the CPI(M), Mr. Selvaraj resigned, alleging factionalism and being made a target by a section of the district leadership. He crossed over to the Congress, and fought the 2012 byelection where he was pitted against F. Lawrence of the LDF and O. Rajagopal of the BJP. Mr. Selvaraj secured 52,528 votes against 46,194 votes bagged by Mr. Lawrence. Mr. Rajagopal put up a strong show, increasing his party’s tally in the constituency by over four-fold as compared to the 2011 Assembly elections by securing 30,507 votes. Mr. Selvaraj’s win also upped the UDF’s slender majority in the 140-member Assembly to 73.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, Mr. Selvaraj could not make it a hat trick and had to concede to K. Ansalan of the LDF who won by 9,543 votes. It was sweet revenge for the LDF, still hurting from the 2012 loss at the hands of its former MLA. The NDA’s Punchakkari Surendran polled 15,531 votes.

First winner

In the first elections held in 1957, R. Janardhanan Nair of the undivided Communist Party of India won from Neyyattinkara. In 1960, P. Narayanan Thampi of the Praja Socialist Party emerged victorious. Five years later, G. Chandrasekhara Pillai secured a win for the Congress from here. In 1967, the Congress retained the seat through R.G. Nair.

In 1970, R. Parameswaran Pillai of the CPI(M) defeated former MLA R. Janardhanan Nair of the CPI to reach the Assembly. In both 1977 and 1980, R. Sundaresan Nair, an Independent, defeated Mr. Parameswaran Pillai here. In 1982, S.R. Thankaraj claimed the segment for the Janata Party, winning against Mr. Sundaresan Nair of the National Democratic Party. Five years later, he retained the seat defeating K.C. Thankaraj of the Congress.

Hat-trick

Thampanoor Ravi won the next three Assembly elections here; in 1991, 1996, and 2001. In 1991, he won against S.R. Thankaraj, in 1996 against Charupara Ravi of the Janata Dal, and in 2001 against S.B. Rosechandran of the Janata Dal (Secular). In 2006, V.J. Thankappan of the CPI wrested the seat from the Congress by defeating Mr. Ravi by a slender margin of 746 votes. But the constituency swerved the Left way in 2011 when Mr. Selvaraj won against Mr. Ravi.

There are a total of 1,83,295 voters in the constituency – 89,039 males, 94,254 females, and two from the transgender community – as per the voter list on January 20. After the delimitation exercise a few years ago, the constituency comprises the Neyyattinkara municipality, and Athiyannoor, Chenkal, Karode, Kulathoor, and Thirupuram panchayats.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 7:28:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/ldf-udf-hopeful-in-neyyattinkara-cautious-too/article34046357.ece

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